Deciding to grow a beard is long-term commitment that takes time, effort, and loads of patience. Although having a beard is nothing short of awesome, there's always outside pressures working against you.
We're constantly pushing to remove stereotypes that come along with growing a beard. What we've learned is taking proper care of your beard not only makes it look better and more presentable, but it also makes it feel better for yourself and those around you.
Most of you who are currently sporting some form of facial hair awesomness know that people touching your beard is a bit discomforting. Why? Well no one necessarily likes to have their face touched.
However, if you have a spouse or significant other, you know their opinion matters. They will be touching your face a lot, so if they are uncomfortable, you probably will be too.
It All Starts In The Shower
Let's start with the basics. Your beard left untouched is naturally more coarse than the hair on your head. This is because beard hair has more of a flat shape than head hair. It also is spaced further apart since there are fewer follicles on your face than on top of your head.
Regardless of your beard length, there are steps you can take to soften your beard and the skin underneath it.
It begins in the shower. For starters, you should not be washing your beard with shampoo or beard wash every day unless absolutely necessary. Stripping your beard of all the natural oils makes it brittle. Which leads to breakage and ultimately a sharp, course edges.
If you do decide to wash your beard, consider using a beard wash rather than an over the counter shampoo. Beard washes are formulated with less harsh detergents than those found in shampoo used for your hair. Since your beard follicles are spaced further apart, lighter detergents provide sufficient cleansing, even to the dirtiest of beards.
After you wash your beard, ALWAYS follow up with a beard softener. This is like a conditioner for your beard, but like the wash, is less damaging than normal conditioner. Many people opt to only use the softener to wash their beard, and skip the beard wash completely. You can learn more about that method here.
The Key to Success Is In The Oil
After you finish up in the shower, it's on to the next step. The easiest, quickest method is to simply towel dry your beard. If you are styling it a certain way, you might want to consider using a blow dryer.
Once dry, its time to apply your favorite beard oil. You can think of beard oil like a leave in conditioner for your hair and skin. It does an excellent job of retaining moisture and supplying both a healthy shine, and an awesome fragrance to your beard.
If you have dryer than normal skin, you might want to consider using beard balm in place of the oil. The balm serves the same purpose as the oil in terms of conditioning and moisturizing, but it absorbs into the skin at a slower rate providing even more moisturizing.
If you're not sure which product is right for you, you can learn more about the similarities and differences here.
Time to Comb It Out
Now that you've applied the necessary products, you can finish off with your specialized beard comb. The final comb through will release any left over tangles that might cause some discomfort. Using a comb after you apply the beard oil or balm will also act as a rake for the product. It basically makes sure all of the beard is evenly applied. This step is particularly important if you have a longer beard, and need to use a bit more product.
It's a good idea to carry a pocket comb and some oil with you throughout the day. So no matter what you decide to get into, or what your beard goes through, you can keep it soft, smooth, and under control.
Now that you have the grooming routine down, you have a fighting chance when convincing other to be on board with you growing a beard. Below is Eric's advice on how to do just that.